How can I join the church?

1) Membership through baptism as a child

In baptism, you as parents are: thanking God for his gift of life, deciding to start your child on the journey of faith and asking for the Church's support. For your child, baptism marks the start of a journey of faith, which involves turning away from the darkness of self-centredness, turning towards Christ and becoming a member of the local and worldwide Christian family. Baptism is a 'sacrament': a visible sign of God's love. In baptism, we are thanking God for his gift of life and publicly acknowledging his love. We are acknowledging that we all need to turn away from the darkness of  evil and to make a new start with God.

2) Membership through baptism as an adult

increasing numbers of people are not being baptised as infants, but are being baptised when they come to faith when they are older.The baptism service may if desired be combined with a service of confirmation and receiving holy communion for the first time.

Those who are exploring faith my prefer just to be baptised to begin with and wait to be confirmed.

3) Membership through joining the Church as an adult
(Reception into the Church of England)

Those who are members of other denominations, and are baptised,  may wish to join the Church of England, for example if they move to the parish where the only Church is the parish Church. The official service includes a statement of faith and the following questions and responses:

Do you acknowledge the Church of England as part of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church?  I do.

Do you accept the teaching, discipline and authority of the Church of England? I do.

Will you take part with us in worship and mission? I will.

N, we recognize you as a member of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church;

and we receive you into the communion of the Church of England

in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

You don’t have to be a member of the Church of England to turn to us for help, or for any of your needs. We will gladly welcome you, or point you to your local church if that seems to be more appropriate. If you have had pastoral contacts before through baptism weddings or funerals you will find it easier to make contact now.

If you live in the ecclesiastical parish you have certain rights in the church. This does not make you a member, and reflects the established nature of the Church of England. If you have family living in the parish this may also give you certain rights eg to get married by virtue of that connection with the parish.

4) Membership through the electoral roll

The Electoral Roll is the list of names and addresses of a church’s membership. Every person listed on the Roll is eligible to attend the Annual Parochial Church Meeting. A new roll was created in 2007 and is renewed every six years. This year and subsequent years up to 2013, the electoral role will only be amended with any new names that have been added or names of those who are no longer members taken off.

5) Coming back to faith

Affirmation of Baptismal Faith is a new rite contained in the Common Worship initiation services. It is intended for those people for have been baptised and confirmed and who want a formal way of marking either that they have returned to the practice of the Christian faith or that their faith has become meaningful to them in a new way.

Affirmation of Baptismal Faith is preceded by preparation. It consists of the following elements: a declaration that those involved have been baptised and wish to renew their faith; the renunciation of all that is evil and declaration of turning to Christ from the baptism service; an affirmation of faith using the words of the Apostles’ Creed; a declaration of commitment to God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit :

‘I answer the call of God my creator.  I trust in Christ Jesus as my saviour. I seek new  life from the Holy Spirit.’

‘God of mercy and love,

In baptism you welcome the sinner

and restore the dead to life.

You create a clean heart in those who repent,

and give your Holy Spirit to those who ask.

Grant that these your servants may grow

into the fullness of the stature of Christ.

Equip them with the gifts of your Holy Spirit,

and fill them with faith in Jesus Christ

and with love for your people,

in the service of your kingdom. Amen’

    * The laying on of hands by the parish priest with the words:

‘N, may God renew his life within you

that you may confess his name this day and for ever.’ ‘Amen.’